The 17 Best Powdery Perfumes to Add to Your Repertoire
Nov 01, 2023
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Powdery perfumes are having a resurgence—with classic scents like Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain Shalimar finding new fans even though they’re about a century old. “In fragrance there are modern twists on everything,” says Rosie Jane Johnston, founder of fragrance and body brand By/Rosie Jane. “There used to be such traditional notes when it came to powdery perfumes, but now you can have a powdery floral or a powdery vanilla scent, and people’s appetite for notes is growing and evolving.”
If you’re looking to add sophisticated new scents to your fragrance wardrobe, find the 17 best powdery perfumes ahead.
Glossier You was already a popular fragrance—and then TikTok came around. Users far and wide have raved about its “your scent but better” essence—and warned that you’ll be stopped everywhere you go, by people who want to ask what you’re wearing.
Customer review: “The best perfume ever I’ve never been interested in perfume but this one is just soo good and beautiful almost cried.” —Lune
This popular blend from Johnston’s line is her take on a powdery scent. “I made it because I wanted something that felt super clean and fresh, like I had just taken a shower,” says the perfumer. “It hits so many categories, and powdery is one of them.”
Customer review: “I have never received so many compliments on my perfume before! Almost every time I wear it, people tell me how wonderful I smell!” —Cassie
Rosie Eau de Parfum
Chanel No. 5 is one of our all-time favorite scents, and one of the original powdery scents. That’s thanks to aldehydes, the groundbreaking ingredient featured in No. 5, which changed the industry and have influenced countless fragrances since.
Customer review: “Chanel No. 5 has been my signature perfume since I was 17 years old. Now, at age 79, it remains my favorite. Thank you for an excellent perfume. Always.”
No. 5 Eau de Parfum
Another classic, Chloé’s namesake scent is a powdery blend of florals that’s grounded in amber.
Customer review: “I love this scent. Light, floral, citrusy—it feels like I’m floating in a femme dream. I want to wear this and dance around barefoot in pink tulle.” —minusmymakeup
Eau de Parfum
Dating back a century, Shalimar is synonymous with powdery scents, and the first to feature notes of amber. Vanilla and bergamot round out the deep, heady scent.
Customer review: “I’m not sure why this is considered a mature perfume. It is a bit vintage but to me it is more spicy and warm than anything else. It lasts for hours. It is wonderful. I recommend you give it a chance.” —margalee
Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Phlur scents keep us on our toes, and Not Your Baby is no exception. This blend of cardamom, bergamot, milky vanilla, tonka bean, and sandalwood is sweet, spicy, and powdery all at once.
Customer review: “I smelled this on a co-worker and had to have it. It’s not too floral which I like. It’s sweet, powdery, milky and comforting. I’m in loveeee. Great for year-round too.” —aninha22
Not Your Baby Eau de Parfum
The “invisible” in the name is intentional; this easy, laid-back scent of jasmine, white musk, and cotton flower is barely-there, but will still garner endless compliments.
Customer review: “I love how gender neutral this perfume is. I love that it’s more of a musk that can go with both my dainty and edgy outfits.”
Bold fruit and soft powder complement each other in this luxe Parfums de Marly fragrance, which features notes of mandarin, peach, amber, and cotton.
Customer review: “Valaya is a fruity, floral musk. Yummy Mandarin, orange blossom and white peach. I can’t wait to wear this for spring!” —Lovelynn
If you love the earthy Cashmere Kush candle, you’ll be thrilled to know that Boy Smells bottled it into a musk-heavy perfume, cut with a smoky finish.
Customer review: “This is a very sophisticated woody/musky fragrance. A hint of sweet. But very unisex and leans more on the masculine side. Great on it’s own, but I like layering this on with other light, fresh scents that need that extra grounding base layer.” —dvdvd
Cashmere Kush Eau de Parfum
Evening scents can sometimes lean a little too bold, but My Way from Armani Beauty takes a softer approach to a night-out fragrance. Top citrus notes like bergamot oil and orange blossom lend a freshness before giving way to velvet tuberose, iris, vanilla, and white musk.
Customer review: “Smells amazing. Scent is not too strong. Those who love jasmine and white flowers will be pleased.” —jam3la
My Way Parfum
Candy is, as the name suggests, a sweet scent—but not overwhelmingly so. The warm musk and powdery benzoin resin notes keep it grounded.
Customer review: “This is a lovely fragrance, not too strong, not too light either. It goes on rather sweet and caramel at first, but dries down to a richer scent. Delicious, feminine perfume. Very nice.” —MsCR
Candy Eau de Parfum
Inspired by a night in L.A., this Louis Vuitton fragrance opens with a starry fruit-f0rward blend of lemon, blood orange, and red mandarin, then dries down to notes of warm sandalwood and musk, like a Santa Monica sunset.
Customer review: “City of Stars is a gorgeous citrus fragrance with a hint of the tropical floral of tiare. I’m in absolute love! She’s light but yet so refined and elegant.”
City of Stars
Spiked with notes of coconut milk, rose, white musk, and soap bubbles themselves, this perfume is the closest you can get to having the most luxurious spa bath in a bottle.
Customer review: “Maison Margiela’s Bubble Bath is truly like no other, I had debated on buying it but every time I went to Sephora and would spray it on myself I would fall in love and new I had to take it home soon! Such a clean scent!” —kateleyden
Replica Bubble Bath
This luxe fragrance features powdery aldehyde and musk and sultry tonka bean and vanilla, all wrapped up in lightly floral iris.
Customer review: “Iris Poudre is my signature spring and summer scent. It is fresh, a bit green, and lasts over 20 hours on my skin. Try it…you’ll like it.” —Cecily
La Vie Est Belle is like a mood ring—each note offers a different vibe. It’s sweet, thanks to warm vanilla; earthy, thanks to patchouli; and it’s floral and powdery, thanks to iris.
Customer review: “This perfume is my absolute favorite. To me, it’s very warm but also sweet? It’s my most complimented perfume every time I wear it. I have bought at least five bottles & will always keep it on hand.” —Ashley
La Vie Est Belle
The designer’s classically elegant scent gets a warm, comforting remix with musk, cashmere, amber, and patchouli.
Customer review: “Pure Musc is pure joy for me! It still has this unmistakable note of For Her but it is more powerful. It is like soft cuddle or a cashmere shawl on your skin. I love it even more and I thought that it won’t be possible.” —Aga53
For Her Pure Musc Eau de Parfum
How’s this for a scent memory? This small-batch scent is meant to evoke the feeling of strolling through a garden picking fresh tomatoes. Cedar and vanilla are unexpected yet lovely foils.
Customer review: “Fragrance reminds me of a rose garden and summer.”
In a way, they are exactly what they sound like—but that is a bit hard to describe. “Powdery perfume traditionally has a clean, powdery note to it—think of baby powder; that’s the easiest way to describe it,” says Johnston. “They are usually very clean scents and reminiscent of when we used to put on baby powder after a bath.”
In addition to aldehydes, the ingredient famously found in Chanel No. 5, Johnston says one major signifier of a powdery scent is musk. “For me it would specifically be Egyptian musk or a white musk,” she says. Other powdery notes include amber, iris, resins, and sometimes vanilla.
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